Brattleboro, VT—Antioch grads Michelle Simpson-Siegel (Environmental Science ’98) and Jessica Turner (Experienced Educator Program ’05) are co-founding a micro-school in Brattleboro, VT. Simpson-Siegel is the executive director of Oak Meadow, a well-known home school curriculum provider and distance learning school that recently became the first distance school to receive accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Turner is a long time educator with experience teaching middle school through college age students.
Both credit their Antioch University New England experience as the foundation and inspiration for this exciting venture. “Dr. Jane Miller, my professor in the education department at Antioch University New England, who recently retired, inspired me to start my own school and to take on this enormous project one step at a time,” said Jessica Turner. “She was completely supportive of me as a teacher and as a learner.”
Brattleboro School Without Walls (SW2) is a combination home school cooperative and independent school. SW2 will operate as a modern one-room schoolhouse, where students of different ages learn from one another yet work through the curriculum at their own pace. Class size is intentionally small, and the school meets only a few days a week. Further, students are encouraged to pursue their passions and interests by taking classes and courses at various organizations in and around Brattleboro to earn credit toward their Oak Meadow diploma.
Participating arts, performance, and outdoors programs include New England Youth Theater, New England Circus for the Arts, Insight-Photography, River Gallery of Arts, Brattleboro School of Dance, Brattleboro Music School, Vermont Wilderness School, Circus Yoga, Vermont Jazz Center, and Express Fluency. Marlboro College also offers courses at no cost to area high schoolers, and college credit earned there will count towards dual enrollment. Credit for internships, apprenticeships, and other learning opportunities are all part of the picture. Simpson-Siegel strongly believes that nothing should be “extracurricular” in a student’s education, and she is spearheading the creation of this learning center to make that belief a reality.
Dana Batchelor of New England Center for Circus Arts said, “Brattleboro is a mecca for arts education in New England, and Oak Meadow has become a vital resource for connecting what we have to offer to the home school community, from the early grades all the way through high school. A well-rounded education that includes performing arts has been proven time and again to benefit students’ overall preparation for adulthood.”
Visit bsw2.org or call Oak Meadow at 802.251.7250 for more information.